The 25 Best Cigars of the Year 2004
Joya de Nicaragua Celebracion Churchill
The Joya de Nicaragua brand was practically dead when brand owner Alejandro Martinez-Cuenca turned back the clock and released a cigar that tasted like the strong Joyas of the 1970s. The Joya de Nicaragua Antaño was a huge hit, but the ligero-loaded cigar was too strong for many smokers. The company turned to Manuel Quesada of the Dominican Republic to tame the blend. The result is the Celebracion line, which is robust but more balanced and elegant than the Antaño. If the Antaño is a bull, Celebracion is a stallion. The wrappers are grown from criollo seed, and the 6 7/8-inch, 48-ring gauge Churchill is a bargain, selling for only $4.50. Production of the Churchill, which debuted in mid-2004, should rise to about 50,000 cigars in 2005.